Top global investors and corporate leaders gathered together recently in Hong Kong for the 16th annual Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference (AIC). Led by a stellar line-up of speakers, the event—which took place between March 18 and 22—provided a forum for debate and exchange of insights on key issues on the global economic and investment agenda.
The event emphasized how the Asia-Pacific region continues to provide opportunities for investors to participate in pivotal stages of country and industry development that do not appear to exist elsewhere. Top discussion highlights included key trends shaping the region and the world today, including emerging markets investing, online opportunities in China, and the future of the Eurozone, among others.
Emerging Investment Trends
Among the select group of thought-leaders from around the globe participating in the AIC, Laurence Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, observed that the world had changed fundamentally since the 2008 financial crisis, as lower growth and depressed yields are making it much more challenging for investors to generate returns. Watch Mr. Fink discuss four megatrends of which investors should be aware, and the markets that provide the best potential growth opportunities.
Power of online marketplace in China
Jack Ma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group and one of the most anticipated keynote speakers at the event, addressed digital opportunities in Asia, seeking to contrast the online experience in the United States and in China. “In the U.S., e-commerce is a dessert; it’s an addition to the main business, because in the U.S. the infrastructure of doing business is so good. But in China the infrastructure of commerce is bad, and e-commerce becomes the main course,” he said. “But it won’t work to simply put a traditional business online,” Mr. Ma asserted. “In the future, people will not make money by how many things they sell at one time. People will make money by how many different things they sell at one time.”
Future of the Eurozone
The recent debt crisis in Cyprus was also highly debated at the AIC. During his keynote address, Jean-Claude Trichet, the former Head of the European Central Bank, urged delegates at the conference to stay focused on the structural reforms underway in the euro zone that are putting it on a more stable footing. Watch an interview with Mr. Trichet, during which the former central banker draws on his extensive policymaking experience and unique perspective on the complex workings of Europe and the global economy to examine the future of the euro, the Eurozone and its relationship with the U.S. and Asia.
Japan: The Path to Change
Japan was also a high point of discussion at the AIC. In a keynote address that touched on geopolitics, investment flows, and structural reforms in the Japanese economy, Yukio Hatoyama, former Prime Minister of Japan, struck an optimistic tone, reiterating his calls for an East Asian Community that would bind together the region’s economies in a way similar to the European Union’s common market. Watch our interview with Mr. Hatoyama, during which he shared his vision for greater partnership among Asian nations, and explained how it will benefit the people of Japan.